The Unforgiving Light


Idolatry – Pt. 2

I float upward, a rag doll lolling between cross-currents until I break the surface –

— no focus…parched and transparent…traces of MDMA adding a vividness to the hangover, a disembodied demand that I sit up and engage so I rise almost too heavy to levitate to the refrigerator, grab the 2-liter Diet Coke, upturn and drain its contents into a suspended yawn.

A bellicose belch to remind myself I’m alive, my hand squeezes the empty plastic bottle with a satisfying crunch.

I return to my room and see Dan’s already left two texts.  He wants to meet at the Sunset Diner for brunch. He actually uses the word brunch. The thought of spending another Saturday morning stuck to the torn vinyl of a wraparound booth listening to Dan’s distracting drone of masculine condescension, a monotonous plane of sound drifting over his Denver omelet — it’s just too much.

Dan is history, he just doesn’t know it yet.  We’d never defined our little arrangement but lately I could tell he was trying to fuck my mind just as hard as my snatch.  Poor thing.  Beneath the dry-rotted planks of the boardwalk last night, I heard him cum and to me it sounded like an exclamation point, the final relished grunt of a months-long animalistic entanglement.  I didn’t climax and I knew right there and then that this thing had run its course.  Today, he wants to put his brain on display to add an imagined mystique to his overworked cock and I’m expected to gaze at him in rapt attention as if everything coming out of his mouth weren’t so obviously memorized from Wikipedia pages he’d culled earlier in the day.  Like most men, he liked his women smart but not too smart.  I was kind enough to play just dumb enough for longer than Dan deserved and of course he’s getting ahead of himself now because I’m a fucking star and if you want to be treated to the performance of a lifetime, just slide on up to me and put your hand on my thigh like you own it.

But I can’t deal with Dan right now.  Rather than return his messages, I’m just going to let him squirm in uncertainty.  If you think I’m a bitch, try this hangover on for size and let me know if you feel like filling in for me at the diner.

He’ll show up here sooner or later, of course, but I’ll be long gone.

On my way out the door last night, Dolores called and asked if I’d be willing to pick up a couple of potted plants for the backyard.  I rent her home on a month to month basis and I know that she gives me these little errands to run that always result in me adding another personal touch to the place because she’s hoping I’ll commit to signing a lease.  “Oh, Samantha, you just have a better eye for these things,” she always says with a cunning smile.

I hop in the shower and hose off Dan’s intrusive essence along with several thousand grains of sand that circle the drain like the debris-heavy rings of Saturn.

Standing in the foyer, hair damp and brushed straight, cut-off shorts and a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Jersey Shore” in case I get lost and someone needs to return me to the general region of the world from which I’d become separated – an understated vision of detoxifying beauty ready to Feng Shui the fuck out of her backyard.  I scoop some change from the foyer table into my pocket and step out into the unforgiving light of the sun.

Since I’ve abdicated the responsibility of perching in close proximity to Dan and his omelet, I opt for the Sunset Farm Market in Wanamassa, a bit out of the way but much better suited to an artfully exploratory eye than the generic vegetative offerings at the Home Depot Garden Center.  Whenever Dolores asks me to pick something up for the home, she always knows I’ll end up virtually reinventing the entire aesthetic.  And that’s kind of the point.  She only lives a few blocks from here and seems perfectly capable of running simple errands despite the fact that her brains are scrambled.

So many scrambled brains and I can’t resist probing every last one I run across.  If ‘how did you get this way?’ were the only question that could be asked of anyone, I’d still be perpetually entertained for the rest of my life.  As I said, my sanity is lately up for debate, but I know how that happened even if I don’t begin to understand it.  It’s almost a blessing, too, because before I started down this rabbit hole, I had a pitiful reserve of horror stories with which to rationalize my erratic behavior.  Every woman seems to have some unspeakable moment from her past that’s just too upsetting to describe with anything but a hashtag followed by strength in numbers sloganeering.  Not me.  Sure, you could say I’ve made myself the target of a good deal of slut-shaming over the years, but can that really be considered traumatic when it’s exactly what I was after?  The time-honored battle of the sexes is an endless source of amusement to me.  All of this noisy animosity over the insertion of a stick into a hole.  I’m not trying to belittle those poor girls who’ve been targets of a full-on invasive blitzkrieg from the lecherous Cock Luftwaffe — that’s some twisted motherfucking shit.  It’s just that I have no comparable episodes of rape or victimization to share so I’m rightfully excluded from that particular sisterhood.  It’s also why guys find me so unthreatening, as long as I keep the lion’s share of my intellect to myself.

When I pulled into the semi-circular driveway of the farm market, I noticed a new row of slate grey statues arranged in a straight line a few yards from the entrance at the edge of the immaculate close-clipped lawn.  I got out of my car and pushed my sunglasses up to the loose bun of hair in the middle of my head so I could get a better look at the figures.

Gargoyles.  Grotesquely pedestrian and purposeless at ground level, I turned and walked through the automatic doors in search of potted plants for Dolores.




15 thoughts on “The Unforgiving Light

  1. I’m pretty sure I cut myself reading that edgy prose. Nicks all over. Can’t really call it rapier, more like sabre or scimitar. Now that I look down, I realize I’m now missing an important piece I’d become attached to (or it to me), which is the sense that women are the gentler sex.

    Liked by 1 person

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